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Scams Awareness Month

Get wise to scams during national awareness month

People across Staffordshire are being urged to spot the signs of scams and to report them as part of a national awareness month in July.

Scams Awareness Month 2017 aims to inform people of the types and extent of con tricks which pose a threat to people’s finances and wellbeing. The county council wants people to spot tell-tale signs online, on the phone, through the post or on the doorstep. Led by Citizen’s Advice and backed by trading standards teams, the campaign is reminding people to take a moment and trust their gut instinct so that they get advice, report scams and tell others about their experiences.

Every week throughout July, the campaign focuses on different age groups and the types of scams they’re more likely to fall victim to.

Tips to avoid phone scams include:
• If you suspect a phone scam, hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call your bank.
• Genuine computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.
• Only buy event tickets from recognised and reputable outlets and be wary of sales of goods which may be counterfeit.
• Contacted out of the blue? Be suspicious.
• Reject cold calls offering investments or pension advice.

Each year millions of people in the UK fall prey to scammers though it is thought less than five per cent report them. In addition to the financial cost, scams also cause emotional trauma and loss of confidence to victims.

Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said:

Scams cause a huge amount of misery to people and criminals will try any method to defraud their victims. We want to make people aware of the many different types of scam so people can more easily identify them. This year, the month focuses on different age groups in the recognition that they may fall victim to different types of scam. Importantly, we want people to have the confidence to take their time and not be rushed into decisions they may regret. We would always advise that if something appears too good to be true then it usually is, but we understand many scams appear genuine. If people are in any doubt at all they should ignore the offer, hang up the phone or politely refuse doorstep calls. People should always be wary about an unsolicited approach.”

Common scams include doorstep double glazing sales, online investment offers, bogus bank calls asking for personal details, online job adverts asking for an upfront fee, offers for goods and services and fake prize draw winnings.

People can find out more at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or from the national consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.